Tonight: Free performance at Jamaica Center highlights lives of MLK Jr. and Malcolm X’s Widows


The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL) is showing a free play called ‘Widows and Warriors’ tonight at 8:00 pm. 

Written by Donna Cole,‘ Widows and Warriors’ depicts the untold stories of Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz, the wives of civil rights icons Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcom X.  It delves into their childhood, marriages, and experiences with loss, capturing the essence of their authentic selves.

Cole was inspired by her own husband, who was a dedicated admirer of the civil rights leaders. Motivated by his passion, she joined a writing program and crafted a play that brings to life the esteemed female icons of the movement. “Widows and Warriors  is a result of my review of  these two women who suffered the same pain, the same hurt and were treated so differently,” she said. 

Cole wants viewers to understand the parallels and similarities between the two “iconic women, ” and how society views widows very differently. “ They’re not expected to be strong, they’re just expected to go on. Nobody thinks they are able to accomplish anything, but these women, they became warriors,” she said.

The play is a part of JCAL’s ‘Meet the Playwright’ program, which features semi staged readings of new works by amateur  BIPOC playwrights. 

Founded in 2020, ‘Meet the Playwright’  nurtures the writing talents of everyday people who live in southeast Queens. Meet the Playwright’s curator, Brenda Jones describes the writers as “midnight playwrights, the mail carrier during the day and at night they write because they love it.” she said. 

The program is the brainchild of JCAL’s Artistic Director Courtney French. It started as an online live play reading to engage the community during the start of the pandemic. 

Currently there are 4-5 productions per year. Unlike  larger productions, ‘Meet the Playwright’ is an intimate setting that focuses on the playwright’s readings, which is enhanced by music and a small handful of actors. The writers have an hour and a half to read the acts of their play, followed by a Q and A session with the audience. 

To RSVP click here